Homemade Mushroom Soup

I decided to try my hands on mushroom soup last night, together with shrimp aglio olio. Actually, it is because I don't have any ideas on what to cook anymore. Having a helper don't' eat pork really limits the menu by 60%! Can't be having chicken everyday mah.

Cost of mushrooms is so low, can't believe I am paying S$9 per regular serving at The Soup Spoon. It is not difficult to make too.
Saute the garlic and onion, add in mushrooms and let it simmer until it is cooked. Blend it, add in the cream and voila.. Kieran loves mushrooms as much as me so he really loves the soup. Zach on the other hand feel yucky and giving me the I-want-to-throw-up look at each spoonful. Haha..

You will need a pack of mixed mushrooms, thyme (preferred to be fresh), thickened cream, garlic, onions, vegetable stock, flour, salt & butter.

Melt about 25g of butter and saute garlic and onion until both are caramelised. This will take about 4-5 minutes.

Add in the flour and the butter mixture will thicken slightly.

Pour in half of the vegetable stock and all the mushrooms and thyme. It will look a massive amount of mushrooms but don't worry. After 15 minutes, the mushrooms will shrink.

Simmer it for 15 minutes and using a handheld blender, puree the mushrooms. Bring it to boil again, stir in salt and thickened cream.

Serve the soup with croutons. Making this soup is relatively easy, all it takes is 30 minutes. I shall try making other soups next, broccoli, corn and cauliflower.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes

This got to be the easiest dessert to bake! 10 minutes of preparing, 20 minutes of baking and some minor decorating, voila! good looking cupcakes and not to mention yummy and soft too.

I baked these for a street party for LHNC (Lucky Heights Neighbourhood Committee). It's a potluck party so instead of the usual fried beehoon, nuggets etc, I contributed cupcakes. Everyone commented how pretty and yummy it was. Feeling very flattered.

Then, boss' secretary sent out invite saying there is a surprise birthday party the next day in office, I baked another batch of cupcakes, this time round I used some chocolate powder to make it into Chocolate Hokkaido Chiffon. Not sure if it is the paper cup that I used, some of the cupcakes were hard at the bottom. Since Korean strawberries are in season now, time to bake some strawberry shortcake. Was thinking of baking something for Zach's school teachers and friends. It is after all his final year in preschool. He will be embarking to primary education come 02 January 2015. Time flies...okay. I digress.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes (makes 9 cupcakes)

3 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
35g corn oil, or any other oil i.e. grapeseed oil, canola oil
60g milk
70g cake flour

3 egg whites
25g castor sugar

Custard cream
60g whipping cream (dairy)
10g castor sugar
1 tsp custard powder

- Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners and preheat oven to 170C.
- Using a hand whisk, beat egg yolks with sugar until pale in color.
- Add in corn oil and milk, mix well.
- Lastly, add in cake flour. Stir to combine.
- In another clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
- Add in 25g sugar gradually and beat until soft peak forms.
- Taking 1/3 of the meringue, mix well using the hand whisk to the egg yolk batter.
- Fold the remaining meringue in and fold gently using a spatula.
- Scoop batter into prepared liners.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean. Mine took 20 minutes to bake.
- To prepare custard filling, beat whipping cream and sugar until firm and stiff. I beat them over a bowl of ice to speed things up. Placing the beater in freezer helps too.
- Add in custard powder and mix well.
- Pipe custard cream into cooled cupcakes and place your favorite fruits on top.
- Dust with icing sugar.

This cupcake is best consumed when cold.

Before piping in custard cream

Soft and moist cupcakes

This post is linked to Best Recipes for Everyone #5 December 2014 Event Theme: My Little Cupcakes by Fion of XuanHom's Mom.

Japanese Cheesecake - only 3 ingredients!

I bought a block of Philadelphia cheese and some white chocolate from Paris quite some time ago and the expiry date is nearing. What better to use them up than the 3 ingredients Souffle Cheesecake by Ochikeron. View the YouTube video here.
It is really simple to prepare but I think the baking is a tad too tricky. Wrong temperature or timing will make the cake sink..So I am going to watch it like a hawk (it's baking as I am typing this entry).

Souffle Cheesecake (by Ochikeron)

3 cold eggs (70g each), separated
120g white chocolate
125g cream cheese

- Line a 6" or 7" round pan, grease the side with butter. Line the side higher than the pan's height.
- Preheat oven to 170 degree Celcius.
- While you are preparing the pan and chocolate cheese mixture, put egg white into fridge.
- Using bain marie, melt white chocolate, becareful not to over do it. You do not want the chocolates to be separated.
- Remove pot from heat and add in cream cheese. Mix well until all combined.
- Remove the bowl from pot and add in egg yolks. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Whisk egg white until firm peak forms.
- Take 1/3 of meringue and mix with chocolate cheese mixture.
- Pour in remaining meringue and using the whisk, combine gently, careful not to deflate the egg white.
- Pour batter into lined pan.
- Steam bake at 170 degree for 15 minutes, followed by 160 degree for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Leave the cake to cool completely before removing from pan.
- Cake is best served chilled

Bon appetit!

Pandan Cake

This cake is the latest craze in the baking world.. pair this cake with gula melaka swiss meringue buttercream, heavenly! Lazy me do not want to go through the trouble of preparing the cream and piping and worrying about ants. The ants in my house are commando-trained..even sealed in ziploc bag or tupperware they can sneak in. Tsk tsk tsk

I prepared the pandan extract over the weekend and bake this cake on Tuesday for the boys breakkie. The fragrance of the pandan extract with coconut juice lingering in the kitchen and living room makes the hub took 2 cuppies the moment they are out of the oven.

I would strongly urge everyone using this recipe to reduce the sugar further because it is too sweet in my opinion even after I reduced the sugar by 50g. Cringing if it was to be paired with gula melaka SMB how sweet this cake will turn out.

Pandan Cupcakes (yield 12 cupcakes) (adapted from Bitter Sweet Spicy)

200g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g castor sugar (I reduced this to 150g and it is still sweet)
2 large eggs, room temperature
75g coconut milk mix with 25g water (I used 25g pandan water)
2 tbsp pandan extract*

- Line your cupcake pan with cupcake cups. Preheat oven to 180C.
- Combine and sift cake flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In your mixing bowl, beat butter with vanilla extract until it is creamy.
- Add in sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy, it will take approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
- Beat in 1 egg at a time, ensuring it is combined well after each.
- Alternating between flour and pandan coconut mixture (flour-pandan coconut mixture-flour), add in to the butter mixture, mixing well each time.
- At the final flour addition, I use a hand whisk to combine the mixture so as not to overmix my batter.
- Fill cupcake liner to 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes or until inserted skewers come out clean.

* To make your own pandan extract, use about 20 leaves of pandan, snip into small pieces. Add in 1/4 cup of water and using a food processor, blend until fine. Squeeze out the juice and let it sit in the fridge overnight. 2 layers will form, the light clear green is what I refer as pandan water and the darker green that sink at the bottom is pandan extract that gives you the nice green color to your bakes.

See how fine the crumbs of this cake is. Gone within a day..nothing left! Yay...

Next holiday

Lorong Selamat, Siam Road, Macalister Road, char kuay teow, char kuay kak, apam manis, chee cheong fun, hae mee, assam laksa... does these terms sound familiar??

This is where I will be flying on Saturday with my 2 monsters!! Whoopie... I can't wait. We will be staying at Hard Rock Hotel so that they kids can have some fun.

This trip is planned together with my family because there is a public holiday on Monday, 06 Oct 2014 for Hari Raya Haji. This time round all 6 of us with our respective kids, hb and wife will be going. Sure fun la.

I shall do up a post when I am back to Singapore on Tuesday. Stay tune..

Moist Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are in season! S$10 for 4 punnets. Very good deal and the berries are very plump and juicy too. What best to do with 4 punnets than using it for muffins.

When I told boys mummy baking Blueberry Muffins, they were happy! Zach even took 2 muffins to school today I am lazy to use my beater not that I have to wash them but just feeling bleah. You know.. I get these moments more lately. Hate it.. been slacking.

I used recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. Very good muffin and naturally I reduced the sugar by almost half. It is also very easy to bake. Less than an hour including baking and you get moist muffins.

Banana flavored milk

Moist Blueberry Muffins (makes 6 medium sized muffins) - recipe adapted from here
*I have tweaked the recipe slightly to suit my taste and ingredients availability

1 1/2 cup cake flour (I used cake flour instead)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup banana milk (I used the famous Korean brand banana milk)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 punnets of blueberries
some coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

- Preheat oven to 210C and line muffin pan with cupcake liners
- Whisk all the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder and salt
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg and sugar until combined.
- Add in the remaining wet ingredients; coconut oil, milk & vanilla extract
- Create a well in the flour and pour the wet mixture into the flour.

This is the part where we need to be careful not to overmix. You want moist and soft muffins and not dense.

- Mix until no visible pockets of flour can be seen.
- Add in blueberries and give it a few quick stir
- Pour batter into prepared tin, sprinkle coarse sugar on top.
- Bake at 210C for 5 minutes before lowering temperature to 180C and bake for additional 20 minutes

Try it.. definitely a keeper!

Homemade Fish Paste

A check with most of my friends with kids confirmed my conclusion that kids loves fishballs. No one understood why.. both Zachary and Kieran loves fishballs. Everytime you ask them what they like to have for lunch or dinner the answer will be standard answer: Noodles with soup and fishballs. :|

My mom always tell us that fishballs sold outside have an added ingredients which when taken in large quantity is not good for health. I decided to be more hardworking than usual (tsk tsk) and make my own fish paste over the weekend. Googled alot of method to prepare fish paste and most of it used corn flour but I omitted them.

It was fairly easy to make fish paste. I bought mackarel or batang from wet market and get the uncle to cut it into fillet. Using ceramic spoon (Chinese soup spoon) scrape off the flesh, becareful of small bones. You can use back of the cleaver or food processor (I used the latter because I don't own a cleaver). Much much faster.

Mince the fish paste and add the same time add salted water (1 tsp salt and half cup of water) bit by bit. The fish paste should be sticky. That is the consistency that we are looking for.

Scrape the paste into a bowl and do the 'throwing' exercise. Haha.. think about someone that you dislike, pick up the paste and throw it back to the bowl. Do that several times. Doing this throwing will give your fish paste the springy texture; 'QQ' and 'boing boing'. Hee

Shape the paste into fishballs and I used balance to make beancurd to be air-fried.

Boys love it and it is healthy too. I may choose to lower the salt content as I find it on the salty side.

Easy One Pot Pasta

Again, I repeat myself, being a full time working mom (FTWM), I am always on a constant lookout for yummilicious one pot meal where my boys and husband can get all the right nutrients in one dish; carbs, proteins, vitamins, irons etc etc

I came across in IG where a fellow IG-ers shared a one pot pasta. It looks delish! Replicated the same dish over the weekend, knowing Zachary loves pasta with his cheese. In my attempt to fatten him up, he needed more carbs and proteins for muscle built up. Since the last bout of hospitalisation, he is now at 15.6kg which is too too too light for a 6 year old.

It is really easy! Throw everything in a pot, pour in sufficient water, depending on how much broth you want for your pasta. Let it boil/cook for 15 minutes. Voila > good looking and delicious meal.

Don't you love the colors of it? I used smoked duck (bought from Mmmm), tomatoes on vines, basil leaves and mushrooms. You can add other ingredients of your choice, i.e chorizo, meats like chicken, pork. Basil gives the dish the extra oompphh.

Dish out and serve with grated parmesan!

On top of the pasta dish we had, I bought these bamboo clams from Sheng Siong for $18. It was way cheaper from what we usually eat at seafood places like Jumbo or Seafood Paradise. I split the batch to two; one steamed with mirin, garlic and ginger and another stir fry with chilli paste.

Hakka Fried Pork Belly with Fermented Red Beancurd & Easy Fried Chicken

This Hakka dish is a personal favorite of mine and I am sure it is amongst my family members as well. Mom made it so well that I am having a hard time replicating this dish from her. Could be the different brand of fermented beancurd used. Mom's slightly orangey in color whilst mine looks 'normal' in color. Haha.. nevertheless it is still yummy. Kieran, being a meatlover ate 3 pieces which is not bad for a 3 year old kid. Zach did not take any, he's a non-meat eater except for mince pork. Such hard brood to please.

When I was at the wet market, I was contemplating between using 'wu hua rou' or pork shoulder butt or 'san  zhen rou' or pork belly. Decided to go with pork belly cut as I remembered sinking into crunchy layers of fats when my mom made this dish.

Hakka Fried Pork Belly with Fermented Red Beancurd

500g pork belly or pork shoulder butt
2 cubes of fermented red beancurd
1/2 tbsp light soy sacue
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp yellow glutinuous wine or shaoxing wine or hua tiao wine (I used hua tiao)
1/2 tsp of five spice powder
dash of white pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp plain flour

- Wash pork belly and pat dry. Cut into pieces about 1.5 inch wide
- Combine all the ingredients above with pork belly.
- Leave in fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- 30 minutes before frying, take out marinated meat from fridge to set it to room temperature.
- Combine cornflour and plain flour together.
- Heat oil in wok; I used just enough oil that covers half of the pork belly (not submerging them in oil)
- Put pieces of pork into beaten egg, coat well. Dredge pork in flour, dusting excess flour off.
- Fry until golden or when meat is cooked.
- Drain in oil-absorbent paper

Bon appetit!

The other day, I was craving for fried chicken and remembered I bought 4 pieces of quarter chicken from market. This is so simple to make with my Philips Air Fryer XL version. No oil splatters and no smokey kitchen! Just what is needed for a busy full time working mom like me.

Wash chicken and pat dry with kitchen towel. I skipped all seasoning because I am using Kentucky flour for this chicken. The seasoning in the flour is good enough.
Preheat air fryer to 160C. Coat chicken with Kentucky flour and dust off excess.
Air fry at 160C for 15 minutes before flipping and continue with 180C for 10 minutes (may be longer depending on the size of the chickens)

Meal Planning & Air Fried Pork Chop

Sorry for the lack of updates. Being a FTWM (Full Time Working Mum) is no mean feat! Now that my boys stopped going to my trusted babysitter's place, my MIL came to my house on a daily basis (weekdays) to help look see look see my boys as well as cook/monitor my helper to cook dinner. Planning what to cook on a daily basis falls on my shoulder. The first 2 weeks my MIL will lug daily groceries to my place and I guess it is pretty tiring for her to walk under the hot sun everyday lugging heavy stuff. So I will head to the wet market every Sunday and buy a week worth of groceries to store. So planning daily meal need to be done by Saturday evening. Eh.. it's no easy task hor. I have to make sure there are variety in the meals, my sons get balanced carbs, proteins and vitamins during dinner time. Not to mention, them being soup junkie, just like me, need to have different soup on a daily basis. I rotate the soup every 2 weeks so it is still okay.
Thankfully there is this website, NoobCook that is a great source of inspiration for me!

This is how my weekly meal planning looks like. I started updating the amount I spent per week on dinner. I find it really useful to track how much we actually spend on food. Hehe..

I bought some pork chop over the weekend from my trusted butcher at the wet market. I marinated it with the similar recipe my mom always used, maybe with some tweaks on my own.

Air Fried Pork Chops (serving size: 5)
10 slices of pork chop
1 egg
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 tablespoon of Hua Tiao wine
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
dash of white pepper

- Clean the chops and using the back of the cleaver, pound each chops to loosen up the meat. This is an alternative to using meat tenderizer.
- Marinade the pork chops with all the ingredients above for an hour, preferably overnight. I marinated mine since Sunday until Tuesday. Yummy..
- Preheat air fryer to 190C. I lined my air fryer with baking paper to collect the dripping marinade.
- Arrange the pork nicely on the basket. Set timer to 5 minutes.
- Flip the pork chop and air fry for another 5 minutes.
- To get charred edges, I increase the temperature to 200C, and air fry for 2 minutes

The result, yummy pork chop that is healthy too!

This dish takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and less than 30 minutes to cook and serve.

Littlest Baby turn 3

~ Edited ~
It is a big affair for Kieran turning 3! Weeks leading to his actual day he kept asking when is his birthday, where will we be going, he wanted a rainbow cake, will we sing to him etc etc etc...imagine me having to answer the same questions over and over again. At least a hundred times.. haha

I promised him that I will bake him a rainbow cake but since it is for kids at school, I rather they not eat too much food coloring. Instead, I baked him a Chocolate Fudge Cake - which kids do not like chocolates? So I set out to work with fondant, creating a rainbow, cutting out the letters on Wednesday so that it can dry up properly by Friday. I am quite satisfied with the outcome of the fondant this time round except when covering the cake. I never seem to be able to roll out a big piece of fondant to cover the cake properly. Boo..

Kieran is as usual very forgiving when it comes to mummy. The cake is not very satisfactory, the rainbow broke (my guess is that it is too big and thin), the covering of cake was messy, because of the humid weather, the buttercream melted faster than usual, creating a mess. Another boo boo

See how I have to 'pou' those area that cannot be covered fully by the fondant. And because the buttercream created such a mess at the bottom of the cake, I put in pearl pops (bought from Candylicious). Kids love it..haha 
My vision for the cake was like the above but but but the rainbow broke. So I had to improvise by placing the rainbow flat on the cake.. ok lar, still look good. I especially love the white clouds. Personally felt adding some tylose into fondant makes it so much easier to shape.

Joy to Kieran during birthday is the singing, blowing of candle and cake cutting. Poor rainbow was 'mutilated'. Well, as long as he is happy, what else matters?

I did not manage to capture a picture of the cake after it was cut. It was chaotic with the kids hoarding the balloonist. Special mention to Balloon Blasters for such awesome arrangement.
The cake was awesome, fudgy and moist. Yummy! Kieran ate them all.. which is pretty rare for him.

Chocolate Fudge Cake (recipe from Nigella's site)

400g plain flour
250g* golden castor sugar (I do not know what is this so I used white castor sugar)
100g light muscovado sugar
50g best-quality cocoa powder (Valrhona is the best imo)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
142ml sour cream (I used light sour cream)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
125g corn oil
300ml chilled water

- Preheat oven to 180C, butter and line 2 8" round pan. I used 1 8" round pan and slice the cake into 3 layers. Whichever suit your preferences.
- In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, flour, castor sugar, muscovado sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside.
- Using a measuring jug, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream until well mixed.
- Beat cooled melted butter with corn oil until blended. Add in chilled water. Give it a quick stir.
- Add in the dry ingredients all at once and mix at low speed. Finally, add in the egg mixture and mix until all combined.
- Pour into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 55 - 60 minutes or until skewers comes out clean.
- Once baked, cool the cake for 15 minutes before removing it to cool completely.
- Decorate as per your liking.

*I reduce sugar from 250g to 180g

p/s: I did not use mixer be it machine or handheld for this cake. Everything is done using a whisk which I felt is good enough. This prevents us from over mixing the batter. Also I am lazy in washing so I only used minimum utensils - 1 mixing bowl, 2 small bowls, whisk and a measuring scoop. Lazy me..

We continued Kieran's birthday celebration at USS - and this time round we make it a point to go for all rides which are applicable for the kids of course! The boys enjoyed themselves tremendously.

To celebrate with family members and close friends, we had a BBQ session on Saturday night. Food was great.. I ordered majority cooked food so that everyone get to eat quickly. Just heat it up and good to go. Chicken wings were good too. Yummy yummy..I must say this BBQ session is the best I had so far.

Using the same recipe above, I made them into cupcakes (original intention was rainbow cake but unfortunately the cake flopped big time). I used Sally's Baking Addiction's White Chocolate Buttercream as frosting. Yummilicious..

I find that using 1M tip for frosting really makes a lot of difference on the cupcakes. So beautiful..

This is the cake I made as a trial for Kieran's birthday. Spiderman themed which I think was really nice but Kieran insisted that he wanted a rainbow cake. Pretty adamant about it. Plan changed hence the cake shown above.

Fruit Tart with Lemon Curd

I have been reading a lot about Meyer lemons being made into lemon curd. All the photos found on blogger's site that I have visited looks yummy. Being a fan of anything that taste sourish, I wonder why it took me so long to take the plunge and make my own lemon curd. Hehe.. it is so yummy! I can't stop licking the remains off the bowl. It is even better after storing overnight. I am sure it will taste better with macarons. Maybe I should attempt macarons again.

Got a pack of 8 meyer lemons from NTUC and I cooked a portion of lemon curd using Joy of Baking's recipe found here.

I use 3/4 of the lemon curd for making fruit tart for hubby's birthday. It was an impromptu decision to make a fruit tart for his birthday celebration with his family. Lemon curd pair so well with the sweet fruits that I got.. gotten praises for that as well. *happy*

I made the lemon curd on Saturday and the pie crust on Sunday so as not to rush and assemble the fruit tart two hours before leaving for dinner. :)

Again, the sweet pie crust recipe is from Joy of Baking. I need to improve on the pie crust though. It is too thick at some part and I find the crust is not savory enough. Not 'pang'. I will Google more and hopefully the next pie will be better.

Now to think about what to do with the balance lemon curd.

Assorted berries for the fruit tart

Assembled tart

Another angle

Singing birthday song but Kieran was eyeing at the candle instead


Glad the fruit tart turns out well. Dinner was great too. Boys were cooperative with their dinner so I am all smiles